Monday, February 15, 2010

Another Milestone Achieved : Google Buzz

Despite what the leaders of Facebook and Google say, lots of people still like privacy. That was the message many early Buzz users shouted in the days following the launch of Google's new social networking system. Google seems to have taken quick action to patch some of the privacy flaws people were complaining about, but why were these holes present at launch in the first place?

Google has just announced its new microblogging service designed to compete with established services such as Twitter with Google Buzz.

Google Buzz will be integrated within GMail and will allow for automatic contact and friend lists by email correspondence, public/private sharing and inline inbox integration with real-time updates and multiple source browsing in a single feed with photo browsing.

The service will also support @replies If you @reply someone, it will send a buzz towards an individual’s inbox. The service will also support geolocation by asking the user where their location is with choices automatically generated by triangulation.

Google Buzz also has a “recommended” feature that will show buzzes from people you don’t follow if your friends are sharing or commenting on that person’s buzz. You can remove it or change this in settings.

Google is now speaking about using algorithms to help filter conversations, as well as mobile devices related to Buzz. Google Buzz will also be accessible via mobile in three ways: from Google Mobile, from and from a dedicated app.

Reference: Technews, Technewsworld

Thursday, February 4, 2010

How to Connect Port-au-Prince with a Wireless Network

As you can see from the network diagram above, Inveneo's long-distance WiFi links connecting NetHope member organizations is starting to be far-reaching. Inveneo engineers Mark Summer and Andris Bjornson have been able to bring high-speed Internet access - critical communication capacity - to eleven relief agency locations with minimal equipment and installation time

Our long-distance WiFi network has made huge improvements in connectivity for NetHope member organizations. Some had no connectivity before. Others had limited connectivity, like a 160 kbit connection that jumped to 1.6 Mbit. That’s like going from 3 dialup connections to a cable or DSL connection.

These leaps in access have immediate impact when 20-100 people are sharing bandwidth at each location. International staff are able to make high-quality Skype video calls when before even voice calls were next to impossible, cutting resupply and rebuilding times by weeks or months.

We want to do more than just build out physical infrastructure; we also want to build the human capacity of local Haitian companies. Eventually, we hope they can deploy these technologies themselves, expanding the benefits of ICT beyond Inveneo's direct reach.

While we're fundraising for long-term capacity development, we're going to start the process of knowledge dissemination with a primer on deploying long-distance WiFI links in Haiti

How to deploy long-distance WiFi links in Haiti

Inveneo has created a methodology for deploying long-distance wireless networks from our many years of work in Africa. So while Port-au-Prince presents it own set of logistical and communication challenges, we were able to install and manage a high-functioning network relatively quickly using these basic steps:

1. WiFi Network Design - make sure your nodes are visible to each other and pointing at the right location
2. Location Capacity Survey - confirming the location can support a network node
3. WiFi Hub Antenna Pointing - aiming the dish for the highest signal strength
4. Installation Trip Preparation - determining what you'll need before your 30ft up a tower
5. Node Antenna Setup - aiming and connecting the antenna
6. Disseminating Internet Access - networking locally for end-user access
7. Network Management - making sure everyone has equal access to bandwidth

If you've read this far, you'll want to read the full How to Deploy Long-Distance WiFi in Haiti primer and how we and our Certified ICT Partners can bring Internet access to rural and underserved communities in the developing world.

Reference: Wired

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Linux Battle: Ubuntu vs. Fedora

The userbase of Linux operating systems is growing rapidly. More and more people are venturing away from Microsoft Windows and finding their way to open source operating systems. Just as more people are using them, more and more Linux distributions are available. According to DistroWatch, there are more than 400 Linux distributions available and active, with many versions for each, which in turn gives you thousands of options. With large PC manufacturers starting to offer Linux based operating systems as an option for a new computer, which operating system will come out on top and dominate this industry? Among the open source operating system crowd, there are 2 main contenders: Ubuntu and Fedora.


First things first, the installation of Ubuntu was very simple and straightforward. No tricky, unfamiliar feats you must overcome. For the first time Linux user, Ubuntu is by far the easiest to start learning and also includes the most basic options which keep things simple. As you learn the operating system and desire additional features and options, they can be added separately which is great for those who are just new to the Linux scene. Most Ubuntu users are probably a little more computer literate than the average user but with a single disc install, anyone could set this operating system up. The set up process detects your hardware very well and things run smoothly. One of the driving forces to a Linux operating system is the unstable and hacker friendly Microsoft Windows. The biggest downside of Ubuntu is that there is no firewall on the system. There are solutions to work around this but this is one feature that should’ve been included. Another disappointment was the limited multimedia resources. You will probably have to look outside Ubuntu to find what you need in the multimedia department.


This open source operating system has a strong history and has been a strong contender for awhile. Fedora has been the most consistent with stability issues which have plagued other open source operating systems. The recently added network tools are a great addition to this product and actually include eight tools into one easy to use interface. Your multimedia options are expanded somewhat but Fedora doesn’t provide any support for non open source programs that are really common among other users. The included Helix Player is fairly simple and provides a satisfactory replacement for the average multimedia user. Fedora also lacks some of the bells and whistles and human friendliness of other open source operating systems. The security options exceed those of Ubuntu, which is a strong point for Fedora.

Up to this point, Ubuntu appears to be taking the lead in the open source operating system world with a strong backing from Dell Computers. Both operating systems are fully functional and have surprisingly strong features. If you are new to Linux operating systems, Ubuntu is probably the way to go but Fedora users have no reason to jump ship quite yet.